‘The message is all about children and how there are tremendous needs that Erikson is addressing.’

A Conversation with Ikram

Erikson Institute is fortunate to have friends who share our belief in the promise of all children. One of them is Ikram Goldman, the international fashion powerhouse, Chicago boutique owner, and a member of our Board of Trustees.

 Ikram partnered with us to style and create the provocative visual messaging for the window display in our downtown building at 451 N. LaSalle St. Presented under the core of our mission statement Nothing matters more than a child’s early yearsthe visual narrative speaks to the multiple dimensions of our work to benefit young children and families: Lead. Serve. Educate. Advocate. Empower. Partner. Inspire.

Ikram talked with us about her passion, ‘giving of self,’ and the message behind the window display. Excerpts follow:

I have a passion for what I do, whether it is owning my own business or working on projects like this one with Erikson. I think every day is an opportunity to learn and there is never a time when I stop learning. I believe that every day shapes me to be a better person. I am constantly growing and learning and when you stop doing that, a piece of you dies, and I don’t ever want to be like that.

I am the mother of two young boys and I’ve been talking and sharing things with them since they were in utero — hoping this will help shape them as human beings who are able to connect on a basic level. Our world has drastically changed since I was a kid. What I do know is that no matter what happens socially, or through medicine, or with technology – if we don’t teach our children to be compassionate, to make eye contact, to have gratitude, to be kind, to really use the tools of humanity to connect to other human beings, then I think we all fail.

When you think about where and how to ‘give of self,’ you really have to pick the things that move you the most. For me, whether it is Erikson or the Art Institute, I think it is important to dive in fully, keeping in mind I have a husband, two children, and a fulltime job. However, when I say commit fully, I do. I schedule sufficient time for meetings, discussions, thoughts, and creativity – otherwise, I am just a name on a board and that is not effective.

I have been familiar with Erikson for so much of my life, my dear friend works there. Through him, and in other ways, I’ve learned about the amazing purpose of Erikson, and it hits me at the core. To me, children are the future and it’s incredibly effective to impact their lives early on. Erikson’s mission goes to that place every day.

For me, this project was about getting a message out there and the message is all about children and how there are tremendous needs that Erikson is addressing. The message is pure in that it all goes back to helping children. If children didn’t have these needs, a place like Erikson wouldn’t exist. I felt that the images would be empowering for the institution. It’s not really a window message, it’s a “touch you to the core” message.

We dressed the children simply and casually so the focus was on the children and the words. For me, this is all about equality. If you’re an infant or 7, you are all equal in the learning process.

I want everyone who sees this display to understand that they can get help and that they can help. It’s the give and it’s the take. There are plenty of ways people can get help from Erikson – but Erikson exists only with the understanding that it receives help to continue.

I am very proud to be able to do this project as part of Erikson’s 50th Year Anniversary. The idea of being able to help in any capacity at a place like Erikson is a gift to me. The only sad part is that I am not going to be here 50 years from now to see the extraordinary work and accomplishments that Erikson is yet to achieve.